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10 Christmas Films You'll Actually Want To Watch

Because if there's one good thing about Yuletide, it's the time spent slumped in an armchair

10 Christmas Films You'll Actually Want To Watch

Part of both the joy and ordeal of Christmas is that it forces you to live through a cultural time warp, experiencing the same songs, TV shows and films every year thanks to a combination of tradition and lazy scheduling.

The ordeals are well known and often moaned about – Cliff Richard's logs on the fire, the Vicar of Dibley's multiple turkey dinners – whereas the joys are usually consumed in smug silence, with a belly full of everything and a tight grip on the remote control.

Here, we celebrate the latter – specifically, the Christmas films that you'll flick past at some point and feel the unmistakable glow of Christmas cheer.


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01 | Le Martien De Noel (1971)

French-Canadian classic which, until the advent of the internet, topped lists of childhood stuff you suspected you might have actually imagined.


02 | Trading Places (1983)

A bemused Dan Aykroyd stumbling around New York in a flea-bitten Santa suit, Eddie Murphy when he was still funny and, of course, the utterly gratuitous Jamie Lee Curtis shirt-changing scene – the gift that keeps on giving.


3 | The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Jim Henson Company’s finest hour and surely the best ever film adaptation of the Dickens classic. That’s right, better even than Scrooged.


4 | Gremlins (1984)

The most disturbing scene amongst all the gruesome monster mayhem is when Phoebe Cates’ Kate explains why she hates the holidays: because when she was a little girl, her dad disappeared on Christmas Eve, only for his red-suited body to be discovered weeks later stuck in the chimney.


05 | Die Hard (1988)

No amount of heavily armed terrorists can stop Bruce Willis from making it home for Christmas.


6 | It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

The definitive festive film – but it’s easy to forget how dark it gets before the tear-jerking ending.


7 | Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

Strictly speaking, Steve Martin and the late, great John Candy’s characters are trying to get home for Thanksgiving, but this still qualifies as a Christmas movie. The twist at the end is as moving as the “They’re not pillows!” scene is hilarious.


8 | Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

Remade innumerable times, but this version, with Dicky Attenborough as the Macy’s Santa who just might be real, is as good as any.


9 | Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Spooky, funny, stop-motion brilliance.

 

10 | National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Not the best of the Griswold family film franchise, but, the mere sight of Chevy Chase in a Santa hat is enough to start the laughter.


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